Moscow, December 27, 2017
There is targeted work against the Russian Orthodox Church in Russian media, according to Vladimir Legoida, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society, and Media Relations, which both clergy and laity should take into account, and not give even a hint to those looking for a reason to denigrate the Church, as he stated in a recent interview with RIA-Novosti.
Unfortunately, Church members do at times give cause for legitimate criticism, the synodal representative believes, however.
“I don’t support conspiracy theories, but I am convinced that purposeful work against the Church is being carried out, and from various centers. You would have to be quite naïve to not see it. Of course, that doesn’t mean we are all white and fluffy, that problems come exclusively from enemies,” Legoida said.
Bishops, priests, and laity sometimes “themselves give cause for just criticism.”
“But journalists often offer their own mite, when the owners of this or that media outlet put such tasks in front of their editors. The elementary fact-checking in many of these outlets has long been exchanged for the number of visits and likes. This concerns not only the Church. After all, there is life, and there is its media presentation, and I’ve never met any person or organization absolutely satisfied with its media projection,” Legoida added.
The Church representative made a similar point in October, when he spoke to students about modern trends influencing the development of the journalistic profession while presenting at the First International Youth Communication Forum “MediaPost.”
“Your tenure as students has fallen at a time when there is a transformation of the journalistic profession occurring, which can be called the death of the mass media as a source of facts. Today, the veracity of information has been sacrificed to ‘traffic,’” he said at that time.
“Until recently, one of the basic, fundamental journalistic standards was that journalists are obliged to check facts, ideally using three sources.”
However, while he is certain there is an anti-Church bias in the media, the department head also stated in his recent interview that the number of negative articles about the Church is small, not exceeding 5% of the total publications. In his opinion, the most negative year for the Church in the media in the past decade was 2012.
“By the way, the percentage of positive is always 3-4 times more. The majority of media material about the Church is of a neutral character,” Legoida noted.